Chicken Stuffed with Chiles
Makes 4 servings
The wonderfully fragrant, browned vegetable mixture, used as stuffing in the cavity and under the skin, subtly flavors every bit of the chicken.
Find this recipe and more in Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Tastes.
4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Chef Paul prudhomme's Meat Magic® OR
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground dried pasilla chile peppers
1/2 teaspoon ground dried New Mexico Chile peppers
1 cup peeled and diced sweet potatoes
3 cups chicken stock, in all
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 cup chopped yellow bell peppers
1 cup chopped red bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped banana peppers
1/2 cup chopped poblano chile peppers
1/2 cup chopped red jalapeño chile peppers
1 tablespoon minced garlic
8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
how to prepare
Combine the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl to make the Seasoning Mix.
Purée the sweet potato and 1½ cups of the stock in a blender until smooth, then set aside.
Heat the oil in a 14-inch skillet or a 4-quart pot with a lid just until the oil begins to smoke, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onions, the celery, all the bell peppers, and 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of the Seasoning Mix. Stir well, then cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any material sticking to the bottom. Add all the chile peppers, stir well, add the sweet potato purée, and stir until well combined. Re-cover and cook for 3 minutes. Remove the cover and stir in the garlic.
Taste now and get the unfocused sweet flavor from the sweet potato, with a well seasoned taste and a smooth mouth feel, with heat building rapidly from the chiles. Cook uncovered, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan frequently, until the mixture becomes a thick paste, about 15 minutes. Now notice how the earlier flavors, which were pleasant but unfocused, have become rich and deep. The seasoning is now at a high intensity and the vegetables are rich and sweet. The chile heat now spreads in the mouth, lingering for a long time without burning. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. When the mixture reaches room temperature, you'll notice that all the previous flavors remain in play, but they've mellowed as they cooled. When the stuffing is cooked in the bird, the natural flavors of the chicken and its fat will enrich these flavors and baking will add a browned flavor for a deep and complex taste. Remove 1 cup of chile mixture and set aside. Then divide the remaining chile mixture into 8 equal portions.
Preheat the oven to 350°.
With a knife, split each chicken breast lengthwise in order to make a pocket. Take the chicken breast and stand on end (opposite the cut) and gently open the pocket with your fingers. Stuff each divided chile mixture into each chicken breast pocket. Lay each chicken breast on flat side in a greased, roasting pan. Sprinkle each breast lightly with the remaining Seasoning Mix and bake at 350° until a meat thermometer reads 160°.
Remove the chicken breasts from the roasting pan. Leave the remaining drippings or juice in the pan. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the pan and melt all together over medium-high heat on stovetop. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spatula until the white is no longer visible. Add the reserved cup of vegetable mixture and the remaining 1½ cups of stock, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen all the brown bits. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Makes about 2 to 2 ½ cups of sauce. Drizzle each breast with some of the sauce and serve the remaining sauce separately.
Copyright© 2000 by Paul Prudhomme